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Is this Canada’s very own Jerry McGuire? Kai Nagata Blogs about why he quit his job at CTV

Written by Russell Alexander ria@russellalexander.com / (905) 655-6335

Is this Canada’s very own Jerry McGuire? Kai Nagata Blogs about why he quit his job at CTV

Nagata was CTV’s Quebec City Bureau Chief. He described himself as “.. a full-time employee making good money, with comprehensive benefits and retirement options”. But he reached a “breaking point” and described his experiences in the T.V. industry and his reasons for quitting at length in his blog. The blog has since gone viral and Nagata has become an overnight celebrity.

The Blog posting reminded me somewhat of the 1996 film Jerry McGuire and the lead character played by Tom Cruise. McGuire writes a mission statement about perceived dishonesty in the sports management business and how he believes that it should be operated.

Perhaps more importantly, the blog speaks to the power of social media and the disconnect many people experience with traditional media. I wonder what communications guru Marshall McLuhan would make of all this? Truly the medium here is the message.

Here are the 15 Best Quips by Kai Nagata from his blog “Why I quit my job”:

1. I quit my job because the idea burrowed into my mind that, on the long list of things I could be doing, television news is not the best use of my short life. The ends no longer justified the means.

2. Although bounded by certain federal regulations, most of what you see in a newscast is actually defined by an internal code – an editorial tradition handed down from one generation to the next – but the key is, it’s self-enforced. … Underneath this lies the fact that information is a commodity, and private TV networks are supposed to make money.

3. Consider Fox News. What the Murdoch model demonstrated was that facts and truth could be replaced by ideology, with viewership and revenue going up. Simply put, you can tell less truth and make more money.

4. Human beings don’t always like good nourishment. We seem to love white sugar, and unless we understand why we feel nauseated and disoriented after binging on sweets, we’ll just keep going. People like low-nutrition TV, too. And that shapes the internal, self-regulated editorial culture of news.

5. I admit felt a profound discomfort working in an industry that so casually sexualizes its workforce. Every hiring decision is scrutinized using a skewed, unspoken ratio of talent to attractiveness, where attractiveness often compensates for a glaring lack of other qualifications. The insecurity, self doubt, and body-image issues endured by otherwise confident, intelligent journalists would break your heart.

6. The idea has taken root that if the people reporting the news look like your family and neighbours, instead of Barbie and Ken, the station will lose viewers.

7. Aside from feeling sexually attracted to the people on screen, the target viewer, according to consultants, is also supposed to like easy stories that reinforce beliefs they already hold.

8. More damnably, the resulting strategy is now to compete with for-profit networks for the lowest hanging fruit. In this race to the bottom, the less time and money the CBC devotes to enterprise journalism, the less motivation there is for the private networks to maintain credibility by funding their own investigative teams. Even then, “consumer protection” content has largely replaced political accountability.

9. On a weekend where there was real news happening in Bangkok, Misrata, Athens, Washington, and around the world, what we saw instead was a breathless gaggle of normally credible journalists, gushing in live hit after live hit about how the prince is young and his wife is pretty. And the public broadcaster led the charge.

10. Aside from being overrun by “Action News” prophets from Iowa, the CBC has another problem: the perception that it’s somehow a haven for left-wing subversives. True or not, the CBC was worried enough about its pinko problem to commission an independent audit of its coverage, in which more consultants tried to quantify “left-wing bias” and, presumably using stopwatches, demonstrate that the CBC gives the Conservative government airtime commensurate with the proportion of seats it holds in the House of Commons. Or something like that.

11. The stodgy, neutral, unbiased broadcaster trope is played for jokes before the Sun News team gleefully rips into its targets. But Canada has no Jon Stewart to unravel their ideology and act as a counterweight. Our satirists are toothless and boring, with the notable exception of Jean-René Dufort

12. The Canadian right wing, if you want to call it that, has had five years to get the gloves off. With a majority Conservative government in power, they’re putting on brass knuckles.

13. If a woman needs to get an abortion or a gay couple wants to get married, one minister’s opinion shouldn’t be relevant. …. And when science debunks ideology, reason should be allowed to prevail in determining public policy.

14. Centuries of rational thought and academic tradition, dating back to the Renaissance, is being thrown out the window in favour of an ideology that doesn’t reflect reality.

15. I’m broke, and yet I know I’m rich in love. I’m unemployed and homeless, but I’ve never been more free.

Well Nagata’s blog certainly makes for an interesting read and Nagata’s take on traditional media, Canadian politics and his powerlessness in reporting and initiating change provides us with a unique perspective to consider.

Best of luck Nagata in your journey of personal discovery and future endeavours. Nagata’s full blog can be found at http://bit.ly/rctrlc

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.